In September 2015, Neymar, Barcelona FC soccer star and PokerStars sponsored pro, had $48 million in assets frozen by a Brazilian court, due to tax evasion accusations. Allegedly, Neymar did not pay $16 million in taxes and for that reason a Brazilian court decided to freeze three times that amount until the case was resolved.
Recently, Neymar told the media he is not a “criminal” and will wait the end of the investigations.
The Brazilian player’s transfer from Santos to Barcelona in 2013 is at the heart of the issue. The transfer fee was never revealed, but according to the media it was around € 57 million (US$63 million).
However, the actual transfer may have been closer to €100 million, much more than the value suggested by the media. If this is true, Neymar and his agents have probably earned much more money than initially thought.
Josep Maria Bartomeu, Barcelona FC’s president, has indeed revealed that the whole “operation” cost more money than the value speculated by the media at the time. Recently, in a Spanish court, Barcelona FC agreed to pay a settlement worth €5.5 million (US$6 million).
Despite the negative press on the subject, Neymar continues to say that he did not do anything wrong and that people and the media are too quick to judge.
In an interview to the Brazilian publication, Isto É, Neymar said: “I have not done anything wrong. I’m not a criminal. Unfortunately, some people are always trying to create controversy. I do not know whether they do not have the right information or if they have bad intentions.”
Despite the ongoing investigation, Neymar doesn’t let this affect his work or his relationship with the poker community.
In 2015, Neymar supported Felipe Ramos, a Brazilian poker pro, at the WSOP and this year he will probably visit the EPT Barcelona, like he did in 2015.
Neymar has also filmed a couple of commercials for PokerStars to promoted the Rio Olympics.